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Ninja Assassin


The biggest problem with Ninja Assassin is how bad the blood looks, and that's ultimately why I'm telling you not to see it, but we'll get back to that in a moment. The more important reason I'm telling you not to see it is because of the plot. I know what you're thinking and you're right... there isn't one. Even that isn't my problem. My problem is that they tricked me into believing that there would be a plot.

At the beginning of the movie we have this beautiful FBI agent conducting a rogue investigation of secret ninja assassin clans (hence the title). The plot seems to thicken as we learn that there might be a government conspiracy to cover up the existence of the clans for reasons that we don't yet know about. Her partner is a red herring throughout the movie as they try to convince you that he may be a part of the alleged cover-up and he becomes more and more suspicious at the story moves along... then... nothing. They completely abandon the whole idea of a government conspiracy without ever giving us any proof that there is none. So, really, there is no plot. There almost was one... and then it just vanished.

Now as for the blood. To be honest, I was slightly taken aback by the amount of blood and gore in this movie. I knew it was rated R, but I didn't think it was going to be as bloody as it was... I may have actually recommended it, strictly based on the action if it weren't so ridiculously gory, even with the writers false promise of a story, because it could have been fun.

Alas, no. You should not see Ninja Assassin.

Old Dogs

No... but are you really surprised?

Old Dogs is a movie for adults with humor for children. That's the opposite of how to make a good family film. Some of the plot points include a one night stand that leads to the birth of twins, a business deal with some kind of Japanese sports agency or something, the mother of the twins being sent to prison for 2 weeks and needing a babysitter, and a divorcee and a self proclaimed 'ladies man' volunteering for the job.

Some of the jokes include a spray tanner on the fritz (with Robin Williams in a speedo), the old drug overdose gag when people take the wrong drugs and have hilarious side effects (very realistic and a great, fun message for kids), sneaking into a zoo and realizing that they're in the gorilla pen... oh my god, the list goes on and on...

How long have they been filming this? Has it just been sitting on the shelf? When did Bernie Mac die? It had to be a year ago and yet here he is... the only part of this movie that made me laugh was a dead man.

Every great family film has a simple formula: kid-friendly with an actual story, and SOME humor for the grown-ups. Old Dogs isn't particularly kid-friendly. It has no plot; it's just a sequence of set-up, punchline, heartfelt moment, set-up, punchline, heartfelt moment. I'm pretty sure that the only adults that would find 98% of the jokes in this movie funny, are people I don't or wouldn't like. So I guess if you want me to like you, and you think you might enjoy Old Dogs... don't see it.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon


An intense lack of interest in the story is severely impeding my ability to review New Moon objectively. I strongly believe that even with the key demographic being teenage girls, the filmmakers should have made an effort to include everyone. They could have made the action more intense, they could have included better special effects. They could have left out some of the sappy dialogue... unfortunately, as it is, the performances are wooden, the writing is maudlin and hackneyed, and the story is inconsistent, not to mention the complete disregard for the folklore the characters are based out of.

Here are some samples of dialogue:

Edward to Bella (she explains that she won't accept a birthday gift from him because she can't give him anything in return): "You give me everything just by breathing."

Edward to Bella (I don't remember the exact circumstances leading up to the vapid delivery of this gem): "You already do protect me. You're my only reason to stay alive, if that's what I am..."

Jakob to Alice (not a direct quote): "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

Some new rules according to Stephanie Meyer... because apparently, she's allowed to change them:

- Vampires can come out in daylight.

- Werewolves can transform at will, into actual wolves, without the help of a full moon.

- Werewolves are never allowed to wear shirts.

- I haven't figured this out yet, but if you're a werewolf, for some reason you can regenerate pants when you transform back into a human (but not a shirt), or you have to keep spare pairs of pants planted strategically throughout the forest so that when you transform back into a person you won't be naked.

- Vampires can hear each others thoughts, but not about crucial information, like, 'you don't have to kill yourself to be with your girlfriend because she's not dead'.

I don't know how the book ended, but I do know that the movie ended poorly (not that I cared, I had checked out long before the end).

Obviously, if you're going to see New Moon, there's nothing I can say in this review that will stop you... I am hoping to deter the casual movie-goer, though unfortunately there really isn't much else to go see. Two down... ugh, still two to go.

Planet 51


The premise is there, but the execution is off for this silly, super colorful cartoon that is aimed only at young children and yet, at times, is highly inappropriate. One of the two risque jokes will go right over their heads and the other is a dirty joke that's right at their age level. Together they result in my total amount of laugh time from the whole movie... which is seconds at most.

Planet 51 is a high energy film that may entertain your kids while they're watching it, but I implore you to have a sit down with them after and talk to them about why it was a bad movie. We can't have these kids growing up thinking that this was acceptable filmmaking.



2012 falls into the category of movies that are so bad they're good. The writers and director must have known it was bad and/or realized that all anyone who was paying to see the movie would care about is the special effects.

In the year 2012, according to this movie, solar flares will release neutrino's which will melt the Earth's core causing the crust of the earth to collapse. Miraculously, this will all happen without microwaving everyone on the planet.

John Cusack plays a character with a name that no one involved in the films production could get straight... Jackson Curtis... or Curtis Jackson. Depending on who you ask or where you look it could be either one. Some people called him Jackson and others called him Curtis. The cover of the book he wrote says 'by Jackson Curtis' but his Driver's License says 'Jackson, Curtis'. So, what's his name? No one will ever know.

In order to save his family, Cusack figures out a way to get them to China where rescue might await them. I don't know how long the flight from L.A. to China is, but I would assume long enough for one to want to kick back and maybe take his tie off. Not Cusack. He flies all the way to China and continues to try to save the world in his suit, tie and all.

Look, the fact of the matter is that while all of these flaws prove how little the film makers care about story, continuity and common sense, they really deliver on the promise of epic eye-candy. If your looking for the disaster flick of all disaster flicks, 2012 is for you.

The Box


Have you ever sat through a whole movie and thought, "What the hell did I just watch?" I can tell you that I've seen all of writer/director Richard Kelly's films over the past 10 years and I've had a similar reaction to all three.

I watched Donnie Darko when it first came out on DVD and when it ended I stared at the television for the entire length of the end credits, the menu came back up, I said "What?" out loud, and then pressed play again and sat through the whole movie again... it didn't really help me to understand it at all, but I still love that movie.

Southland Tales? Well I didn't really watch the whole thing; so not so much with the love, but I can say that I really have no idea what it's about or what happened during the parts that I saw.

I was kind of pumped for The Box because the trailer made it look significantly more comprehensible than Kelly's last two films. It wasn't. It turned into something completely different from what I had expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just that if you asked me to explain it, I swear I wouldn't be able to. Something about lightening and missing toes, water squares and libraries, of course there's a box and there's also a motel full of employees... there might have been aliens involved, I don't know.

I want to see it again so I can maybe understand it better, in the meantime you're on your own so watch carefully if you decide to go.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Ummm... sure, on DVD...

... and as it turns out, that will be your only option since it's no longer in theatres. The 3D was cool and the story was cute, but the movie was too long (and at 90 minutes long, that's not a good thing).

The fact is that, probably by design, Meatballs has little emotional impact and you really don't feel any different walking out than you did walking in. That's not to say that it won't do it's job... this movie was created to entertain children, not change an adults outlook on life. It's just that, and I will continue to do this, when I compare this Meatballs to any Pixar film, it seems superfiscial... empty... bubblegum.

Rent Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for your kids and get some housework done while they're distracted, but don't rely on it for wholesome family entertainment.

The Fourth Kind


Don't try to fool us with your fake ass "clinical studies", horribly acted "interviews" and mildly frightening "actual footage". We're not buying it and a dramatization of the fictional events isn't necessary. We certainly don't need to see the "actual footage" and the dramatization side by side using a split screen.

Finally, I've said it before and I'll say it again... Milla Jovavich CANNOT act. Stop putting her in movies. Even bad ones. If the only actress you can get is Milla Jovavich, DON'T MAKE THE MOVIE.

The Proposal


The Proposal was released in theatres on 6/19/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 10/13/09.

I actually liked The Proposal. It's a super formulaic rom-com and you already know how it's going to end even if you haven't seen it yet. Bullock does and OK job playing the bitchy boss-lady. Her bitchiness was apparent more due to the reactions of the people around her than the actions of her character. Reynolds plays the same better than average looking every guy that he plays in all the romantic comedies he's in. His ability to ground these kinds of movies helps to elevate them above the common chick flick.

It's easier to recommend since it's available for home viewing, although I think that I would still mildly recommend it if it were still in theatres.

Crank: High Voltage


Crank: High Voltage was released in theatres on 4/17/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 9/8/09.

There is no possible way to take this movie seriously, even as a gag. In the first movie he needed to keep his adrenaline up. Fast car rides, sex, gun fights, helicopter crashes... these are all legitimate ways of keeping your heart rate up. Some of them are dangerous, but they won't necessarily kill you instantaneously. In High Voltage, he needs an electric charge to keep his heart pumping. Hooking a car battery up to you tongue and grabbing hold of high voltage electric conductors at the top of a tower should have just killed him. Having hard core raunchy sex in the middle of a horse race track to create friction during the horse race and hooking up jumper cables to your crotch instead of just your arm could probably be classified as overkill... and stupid.

I suppose if you're willing to buy into the fact that he fell out of a helicopter with no parachute and survived, Asian gang members happened to be there to collect his living body from right where he landed to bring him back to their hideout to harvest his organs, that he was alive during the harvest, and that he decided to fight back when he realized that the next organ they were going to take was his penis, then there really is no reason not to enjoy the rest of the movie.

From my opinion, though, no, you should not watch Crank: High Voltage.